Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review and Commentary on 'Sinbad and The Eye Of The Tiger' For Your Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Campaign

In 1977, I saw this film at a Drive in someplace in upstate New York State when I was a kid. The film stuck with me. This and the Golden Voyage Of Sinbad were films that really made an impression. 

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger is a 1977 British fantasy film, the third and final Sinbadfilm that Ray Harryhausen made for Columbia Pictures after The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. The film stars Patrick WayneTaryn Power, Margaret Whiting, Jane Seymour, and Patrick Troughton. It was directed by Sam Wanamaker.

 This is perhaps one among the many iconic Sinbad movies with effects by Ray Harryhausen that always seems to just stand out and for sword and sorcery fans its a feast. So many great monsters, plot elements, and weirdness going . Let's not mention Zenobia who is one hell of a villainess  in her own right.

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The Plot once again according to Wiki: 
Sinbad (Patrick Wayne), sailor and Prince of Baghdad, moors at Charak, intent on seeking permission from Prince Kassim to marry Kassim's sister, Princess Farah (Jane Seymour). He quickly gets used to the city and its people, but finds it under curfew. When he shelters in a nearby tent, he is attacked by a trio of ghouls, emerging from a fire. Fighting and disposing of the ghouls, Sinbad is yet unaware that a spell has been placed on Kassim by their evil stepmother, Zenobia (Margaret Whiting), which turns him into ababoon (one of Harryhausen's stop-motion creations) just as he was going to be crownedcaliph (Zenobia wishes her son Rafi to be caliph).
Making direct contact with Zenobia herself, Sinbad does not yet know about the curse on Kassim and does not see her as evil at first. But when Farah shows much anger and hatred to Zenobia, and talks about a curse she believes was put on Kassim by Zenobia, Sinbad believes Farah and the two start thinking about what to do. Sinbad sets off with her to find an old Greek alchemist named Melanthius (Patrick Troughton), Hermit of Casgar, who is said to hold the knowledge to help if anyone can. However if Kassim is not crowned within seven moons he will forever lose his right to be Caliph.
They sail aboard their ship, heading in the direction of Casgar, to find Melanthius. It is also at this point that the baboon that is actually Kasim is revealed. During the voyage Farah calms the baboon that is Kassim down (even playing chess with him!) and lets Sinbad get to know him; most of the men on board believe Kassim is a real baboon. Farah tries to keep anyone out of his room so that he will always stay calm. Zenobia and Rafi (Kurt Christian), are at Zenobia's castle, making plans to pursue Sinbad and Farah on their way to Casgar.

Arriving at Casgar, Sinbad and Farah scour the land and eventually find Melanthius and his daughter Dione (Taryn Power), who agree to help them with their quest. Melanthius tells Sinbad that they must travel to the land of Hyperborea where the ancient civilization of the Arimaspi once existed. Meanwhile, Zenobia and Rafi are animating a bronze golem named Minaton (resembling a Minotaur, but made of bronze). With Minaton to power their boat, Zenobia and Rafi set off after Sinbad, Farah, Melanthius and Dione. On the way, Melanthius and Dione get to know the baboon that is Kassim. Melanthius also explains to Sinbad about how to restore Kassim to his human form and what will be needed to do so. Zenobia is meanwhile busy figuring out how to stop or delay Sinbad from reaching Hyperborea. Also three spies from Charak try to stop Zenobia and Rafi but are run over by Zenobia's much bigger boat. One of the men survives but Minaton kills him with a spear.
Along their journey, Zenobia transforms herself into a seagull to spy on Sinbad and his men. She flies to their ship and once aboard, she turns back into a human and shrinks herself, but is found and captured. However, she manages to escape when a wasp grows to the size of a bird and attacks Melanthius (Sinbad later kills it with a knife). Back at Zenobia's ship, Zenobia restores herself to full size but is left with a deformed seagull foot. The long, tiring voyage continues, but eventually they reach the North Polar wastes. Sinbad and his men decide to trek across the ice but are attacked by a giant walrus which destroys most of their food supply and kills two of the men, but eventually Sinbad and the others fend it off with spears. Zenobia gets to Hyperborea a safer way by entering an ice tunnel which leads directly to the pyramid. Sinbad and his crew finally reach Hyperborea. There they meet a troglodyte (a 12-foot (3.7 m) tall creature somewhat like a fur-covered caveman with a single horn coming out of the top of its head), though it is not dangerous to them. This primitive humanoid-like creature Trog, shows Sinbad the way to the center of Hyperborea through a huge face-shaped stone gate. After a long and tiring trek to the pyramid they get through and once inside see a strange light. Meanwhile, Zenobia has already arrived and gets into the shrine by removing a huge block with Minaton's help. However, Minaton is destroyed in the process. Inside the shrine Zenobia and Rafi wait for Sinbad's crew. Outside Sinbad and the others see the dead Minaton and, knowing that Zenobia is already there, become very cautious in entering. They finally arrive at the shrine and while exploring it, they find the light source which will restore Kassim. Sure enough, Zenobia is waiting and Prince Rafi attacks baboon Kassim. Fortunately Kassim wins the following fight and Rafi is killed. After that, Kassim is hosted into the light source (magic of Hyperborea), and is restored. As a last resort, Zenobia transfers her spirit into a sabre-toothed cat which had been frozen. Breaking free of its icy prison, the tiger attacks Sinbad and his men, and fights and kills the troglodyte. Two of Sinbad's men are also killed as they try to save Trog. Sinbad orders Kassim and the others back to the ship while he fights the tiger himself. The tiger then makes the mistake of following Sinbad up the stairs and after a tense battle, Sinbad kills the tiger with a spear. Sinbad is reunited with Kassim, Farah, Melanthius and Dione, and they all return to Charak to rejoice as Kassim is crowned Caliph. As Kassim walks through the crowd, people bowing to him, Sinbad and Farah share a kiss on the lips. You then cut to black, and before the movie ends, the eyes of Zenobia revealed themselves within the black screen, followed with an evil laugh.
 The Legacy Of Hyperborea  And Zenobia 

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So the credits roll, the movie is over, and everyone lives happily ever after. Actually the lands of Hyperborea still exist and the evil of Zenobia is still out there in the world. Now even worse because she's gotten access to Hyperborean technology, alchemy, and occult knowledge.
A very dangerous combination indeed!
According to wiki: 
Their land, called Hyperborea or Hyperboria – "beyond the Boreas" – was perfect, with the sun shining twenty-four hours a day.
Never the Muse is absent
from their ways: lyres clash and flutes cry
and everywhere maiden choruses whirling.
Neither disease nor bitter old age is mixed
in their sacred blood; far from labor and battle they live.
PindarTenth Pythian Ode; translated by Richmond Lattimore.
Reaching such exotic lands is never easy; Pindar cautioned:
neither by ship nor on foot would you find
the marvellous road to the assembly of the Hyperboreans.
Much of the following is available from the wiki entry on Hyperborea right over HERE
According to Wiki : 

  • The 1977 film Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger wove a number of related references into the plot. Hyperborea was the name given to an island far in the North Sea, described in the film by the witch Zenobia as being "past the Celtic Isles". The island had been home to the Arimaspi and contained a pyramid structure called The Shrine of the Four Elements, located in a temperate valley hidden amongest the ice of the Arctic Circle.
About 90% of the elements of Sinbad and The Eye of the Tiger are available in the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg. Could the lands of the Arimaspi be a survival of 'Old Earth' ? A place whose people fell victim to the 'Green Death' brought through the old gate systems?  
 The ancient Arimaspi peoples might have tried to use the Shrine of the Four Elements as both central control for their magical energies and as a possible cure for the 'Green Death' only to be wiped out in the last possible moments. Thus leaving all of their knowledge, treasures, and artifacts behind. Could the old gate system still be functioning upon Hyperborea? Is it simply waiting for PC's to cross over? 
What of the evil of the witch Zenobia and her power base? Surely such a witch is not going to remain idle for long. Death is not an obstacle to one such as her. Could she even now be recruiting a cult and gathering followers to spread the madness of the lands of Hyperborea among the world of Sinbad? This might be possible within your campaigns of AS&SH.
Many of the monsters, artifacts, and spells featured in the movie are available in AS&SH as a homage to the worlds and wonders that Ray Harryhausen brought to the screen. 
The monsters of the lands of the Arimaspi are most likely from the Ice Age and possibly the age of mammals. There might be a few isolated dinosaurs here and there as well. There might well be a few mythic beasts as well as Yeti, trogs, and Carnivorous Apes.
The possiblies for Lovecraftian races might also be high. They may have moved in after the 'Green Death' took effect. 
In the end the lands of  Hyperborea are ripe with possibilities for further adventures in AS&SH or any Sword and Sorcery campaign.

Note that this blog entry is for education and entertainment use only and in way or form is out to violate the trade marks or copyrights of  Sinbad and The Eye of The Tiger or Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea.
The owners of this blog would like to thank the owners of both the movie and AS&SH for the use of their properties in this article.

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